Art and Faith

I’m thrilled to be back in Texas this week meeting with a motivated group of students. We are exploring relevance, faith, culture, and art.  (Get excited.)  When I started explaining the topic to my husband he was less than enthusiastic- at first!  But rather than spend five hours talking about specific works of art, my desire is to raise questions about our response to culture.

Here’s the quote that got the ball rolling:

“There is nothing so secular that it cannot be sacred, and that is one of the deepest messages of the Incarnation.” – Madeleine L’Engle

I don’t have time to turn this into a lengthy series, but I wanted to direct some questions your way.  Feel free to respond in the comment section or to just answer for yourself.  I think our responses to this question DO matter.  So…

What was your first reaction to L’Engle’s quote?  Do you agree with her statement?

sec·u·lar/ˈsekyələr/

Noun: A secular priest.
Adjective: Denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis.

sa·cred Adjective/ˈsākrid/

1. Connected with God (or the gods) or dedicated to a religious purpose and so deserving veneration: “sacred rites”.
2. Religious rather than secular.

in·car·na·tionNoun/ˌinkärˈnāSHən/

1. A person who embodies in the flesh a deity, spirit, or abstract quality: “Rama was Vishnu’s incarnation on earth”.
2. (in Christian theology) The embodiment of God the Son in human flesh as Jesus Christ. 
Happy Pondering. :)
Following,
Ginger
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  • Love it! Of course you know my response to L’Engle is, “Amen!”

    I do think, though, that while five hours on specific works of art might indeed be rather excessive, if we don’t do a sort of workshop on analysis… you know, the how-to and the let’s-do of it all… then the talk about engaging art/culture is… just talk. Talk without tools or experience to do anything about it.

    • Thank you for this book. I love that two of my favorite books are gifts from one of my favorite people!

  • Emily Bryson

    If God can take something that had become as secular as human flesh had and make it sacred by taking that very flesh on himself, than how could it be beyond him to use secular art and culture to represent or reflect a part of him? 

  • Sarah D.

    This quote made me think about how Christians often talk about being “in the world” not “of the world.”  To me, L’Engle seems to be making a point that there doesn’t need to be such a separation but it’s more about the perspective, tone, etc. you bring to a conversation or experience.  I think you can easily interpret the phrase “of the world” in terms of “made in flesh” and all of us are, and so was Jesus.  And Jesus didn’t shy away from culture and parties and story-telling and people who engaged in activies that were not accepted as the “norm.”  But when I think about the WAY Jesus interacted with all of these events and people, I know that He brought a sacred purpose and the spirit of God with Him everywhere He went.  I pray that I can live more like He did.

    • “But when I think about the WAY Jesus interacted with all of these events and people, I know that He brought a sacred purpose and the spirit of God with Him everywhere He went. I pray that I can live more like He did.” – Amen!